by John Abberger

There is an interesting dynamic to each tour, depending mostly on the schedule of concerts and of travelling, and this tour has been a very good re-entry into the business of touring for the orchestra. Often there are complicated issues around when the presenters want to schedule a concert (everybody wants a weekend night or Sunday afternoon), and when and how the orchestra can travel. This tour is nearly ideal in that we have been able to travel to each city one day in advance of the performance, thus avoiding the dreaded travel-day/concert-day combination that can really exhaust the orchestra and staff.

On the other hand, there has been a lot of travel by bus on this trip. In the course of this tour I have been asked by friends along the way (and sometimes by interested, well-meaning audience members) why we have not travelled more by air. The logistics involved, however, offer a simple answer to this question. It is much more efficient to board a bus at one hotel, and disembark at the next hotel, without the time-consuming (and costly) process of chartering a bus to take us to the airport in one city, factoring in the time needed to check in an orchestra (including two cellos and a bass!) for a flight, taking the flight itself, and then getting on another bus to take the group (and instruments) to the hotel at the next destination. Tafelmusik is so fortunate to have Beth Anderson on the staff to organize these tours. Beth has been doing this for more than 20 years now, and the experience she brings to the job is invaluable.

Another aspect that shapes the experience of a tour is the quality of the venues in which we perform. A hall with good acoustics really raises our spirits, and makes it easier to produce a good performance, while an inferior acoustic makes that job more difficult. All the venues on this trip are at colleges and universities, and these institutions are more likely to have a hall dedicated to music performance, as opposed to a so-called “multi-purpose” hall. I say “so called” because these kinds of halls tend to be compromised for all the multiple uses, and so satisfy no one. In a university setting, these multi-purpose halls are usually designed primarily as lecture halls, and as a result are wholly unsuited for music performance.

Happily, the venues on this trip have been good halls with enthusiastic audiences, which is the ultimate test of a successful tour. A happy audience makes for a happy orchestra.

John Abberger, one of North America’s leading performers on historical oboes, has been the principal oboist with Tafelmusik since 1989. He has performed extensively in North America, Europe, and the Far East, and appears regularly with other prominent period-instrument ensembles, including American Bach Soloists, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Washington Bach Consort, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Ensemble Voltaire, Handel and Haydn Society, and Boston Baroque.

Tour generously sponsored by

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